Glory dreams collide with the hard knock life, with conviction
by Robert Flanagan— In this collection of stories, Robert Flanagan again works his muscular magic—bobbing, jabbing, and weaving vivid dialogue and lively movements. We face chiseled characters boxing, acting, attending Catholic grammar school, surviving Marine Corps basic—they grunt, swear, sweat, tell lies, and stumble over truth cloaked in a rueful, gimlet-eyed Irish humor. In a favorite story of this collection, a Chautauqua actor makes his way as John L. Sullivan, owning fame, pain and shame, preaching temperance beside Sojourner Truth, reaching for redemption as life and time glide on. Each of the stories in Fight Night is a fine little film, speckled with credible dialogue from nuanced personae, shaded with bittersweet longing and generous humor.